Here's the article on forming conscience - interesting about Saint John Paul
Years ago Frontline on PBS had a great series on him.
Here's the article on forming conscience - interesting about Saint John Paul
Years ago Frontline on PBS had a great series on him.
Great analysis. Hit the link for the full editorial, which should be available without a subscription.
Judging by the liberal reaction, you would think the Supreme Court majority that struck down part of ObamaCare's birth-control mandate on Monday has suddenly imposed Shariah law. Yet as a matter of law rather than political opportunism, the narrow decision is an important vindication of religious liberty in this (still, blessedly) pluralistic constitutional republic.
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby challenged the Administration's requirement that all corporations cover contraception including abortifacients and sterilization in their worker health plans. The Affordable Care Act did not require this imposition on businesses such as the Hobby Lobby arts-and-crafts chain that tries to operate in accord with religious principles. The White House invented it via regulatory discretion in 2012 as part of its "war on women" election theme.
The problem is that a 1993 law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, requires the government to meet a high standard when interfering with the free exercise of religion. The feds must narrowly tailor such rules and use the "least restrictive means" at their disposal for achieving some public good.
The White House claims to be promoting women's health and gender equality, but it drew an artificial distinction between types of corporations. Its remarkable argument is that businesses forfeit normal conscience protections when trying to turn a profit.
On Monday the Court held 5-4 that RFRA does cover closely held businesses like Hobby Lobby and that the Administration failed the law's substantial-burden test. RFRA is meant "to provide protection for human beings," Justice Samuel Alito writes. "A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends."
Claiming that for-profit businesses cannot exercise religion reflects the mechanistic liberal view that companies only exist to maximize dollars "at the expense of everything else." But of course corporations have many other goals, such as charitable causes, green energy or, yes, promoting moral beliefs.
The Administration has already made a contraception mandate "accommodation" for nonprofits, allowing soup kitchens and the like to supposedly avoid being complicit in what they view as grave wrongs. This gimmick is being litigated separately and our view is that nothing is solved by hiding the costs of contraception in the balance sheets of third-party insurers. Still, writes Justice Alito, the Administration "has provided no reason why the same system cannot be made available when the owners of for-profit corporations have similar religious objections."
Justice Alito was explicit in noting that the Hobby Lobby ruling only applies to closely held, family-run commercial enterprises. Publicly traded companies with dispersed ownership would have some difficulty demonstrating sincere religious beliefs, and most Americans of all faiths (or none at all) do not share Hobby Lobby's birth control qualms. But tolerance only means something if minority beliefs are respected, especially religious faith and conduct.
... political overkill suggests that Democrats are secretly delighted by the ruling, which they hope to use to scare women to the polls and salvage their shaky midterm prospects. Yet the real liberal grievance isn't with the Supreme Court but with RFRA itself. If Democrats are as upset as they claim, they ought to campaign this fall to repeal RFRA and be honest about how little they care about religious liberty.
There are other good ones which we will be posting; here's one from yesterday's WSJ columnist, James Taranto. And Mr. Taranto is neither a Christian, nor is he pro-life. but he is honest.
Excerpts below the link.
For-profit corporations, at least if they are "closely held," can raise conscientious objections to government policies under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. So the Supreme Court held today, by a vote of 5-2, in the much-anticipated case now styled Burwell v. Hobby Lobby.
The vote in Hobby Lobby's favor was actually 5-4, along familiar lines, but as we shall explain, two dissenting justices declined to address the question whether RFRA's protections can apply to for-profit companies. The majority, in a decision by Justice Samuel Alito held that Hobby Lobby and two other companies need not comply with the ObamaCare birth-control mandate, to which their owners object on religious grounds.
The plaintiffs in these cases did not claim their First Amendment rights had been violated; such a claim, as we noted in March, would almost certainly have been precluded by the 1990 case of Employment Division v. Smith. But Congress responded to that case by enacting RFRA, which mandates the courts apply "strict scrutiny" to government policies as enforced against litigants who object on religious grounds.
In order to meet strict scrutiny, the government must show both that the policy is justified by a "compelling" interest and that it is the "least restrictive means" of furthering that interest. At least five justices seemed to agree that the interest in assuring cost-free access to the abortifacient contraceptives in question is "compelling": the four dissenters and Justice Anthony Kennedy, who in a concurring opinion wrote: "It is important to confirm that a premise of the Court's opinion is its assumption that the HHS regulation at issue here furthers a legitimate and compelling interest in the health of female employees."
That's true, but the premise was stipulated--"we assume," wrote Justice Alito--not decided. For the plaintiffs to prevail, it would be sufficient for the government to fail either test, and as Justice Alito argues, it clearly failed the least-restrictive-means test:
In fact, HHS has already devised and implemented a system that seeks to respect the religious liberty of religious nonprofit corporations while ensuring that the employees of these entities have precisely the same access to all FDA-approved contraceptives as employees of companies whose owners have no religious objections to providing such coverage. The employees of these religious nonprofit corporations still have access to insurance coverage without cost sharing for all FDA-approved contraceptives; and according to HHS, this system imposes no net economic burden on the insurance companies that are required to provide or secure the coverage.
Although HHS has made this system available to religious nonprofits that have religious objections to the contraceptive mandate, HHS has provided no reason why the same system cannot be made available when the owners of for-profit corporations have similar religious objections. We therefore conclude that this system constitutes an alternative that achieves all of the Government's aims while providing greater respect for religious liberty.
Some religious nonprofits have argued that the HHS accommodation is too restrictive and violates their First Amendment rights; this case does not address that question--or, indeed, whether "an approach of this type complies with RFRA," in Alito's words. The majority cite another less-restrictive alternative: a government program providing contraceptives directly.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg filed a hyperbolic dissent (citation omitted):
In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs. Compelling governmental interests in uniform compliance with the law, and disadvantages that religion-based opt-outs impose on others, hold no sway, the Court decides, at least when there is a "less restrictive alternative."
As Kennedy gently observes in response, "the Court's opinion does not have the breadth and sweep ascribed to it by the respectful and powerful dissent." Ginsburg suggests the decision would open up the possibility of religious exemptions from statutes prohibiting race discrimination, a claim Alito and the majority flatly reject: "The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the workforce without regard to race, and prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal."
Ginsburg's claim that "the court decides" religious opt-outs should be available when a "less restrictive alternative" is available is misleading. Here the court did not, as it frequently does by necessity, apply a standard of its own invention in interpreting broadly written constitutional language. The "less restrictive alternative" language is in the RFRA statute; it was Congress, not the court, that made that decision.
Only 5-4, which is very sad. But infinitely better than 4-5.
The contraceptives the plaintiffs objected to were, of course, abortifacients.
We will post more on this decision in the next ew days.
This interview was on EWTN earlier today.
Hit this link for the entire video, posted on the Catholic Action website.
In the interview, Cardinal Burke addresses why a Catholic employer cannot, and should not be expected to, provide health care insurance that includes contraception and sterilization. He explains how this would be not only material cooperation in the sin, but also formal cooperation and for that reason there is no way to justify this implementation.
This case is relevant to the current anti-free speech clinic access legislation which is again being pushed by the pro-abortion members of of the Weschester County legislature.
Note the penalty the DOJ agreed to pay for this digraceful lawsuit!
Washington D.C., Apr 4, 2012 / 02:07 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. Department of Justice dropped its case against a pro-life sidewalk counselor and agreed to pay $120,000 for the lawsuit after a federal judge ruled that the case should never have been brought to court.
“I think this sends a strong message that pro-lifers will not be intimidated into silence,” said Mathew Staver, founder the nonprofit group Liberty Counsel, which represented sidewalk counselor Mary Susan Pine.
Staver told CNA on April 3 that from the very beginning, the case against Pine was weak.
Department officials claimed that she had violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances law by preventing a car from accessing the Presidential Women's Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. on one occasion in Nov. 2009.
The department sought thousands of dollars in fines and a permanent injunction to prohibit Pine from counseling women outside the clinic.
Staver explained that the allegations centered around Pine walking up to an approaching car, whose passengers stopped, rolled down the window, accepted literature from her and proceeded on their way to the abortion clinic.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. asserted that “various persons are being, have been, and will continue to be injured” by Pine’s conduct.
Federal Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp disagreed, throwing out the case in December with a statement that the Department of Justice had failed to present evidence of wrongdoing.
“The Court is at a loss as to why the Government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place,” he wrote.
500 enthusiastic people of all ages and backgrounds were there, below the statue of George Washington at the Federal Hall National Memorial at 26 Wall Street.
Of course, this was only one of 140 Rallies nationwide.
FOX was the only television news at the Rally.
You can read about coverage in the local Journal News here Hundreds rally on Wall St. over contraception rule, claim attack on religion including 16 photos
In the Washington Post Social conservatives hope for renewed fervor in contraceptive controversies
No coverage in the NY Times. None. Nada. Didn't happen.
We will post more material from the Rally over the next couple of days.
Here are two short videos to give some sense of the flavor of the day.
The speakers have no sound system, so you have to listen carefully as Dr. Anne Nulte ends her brief talk, pointing out that the drug companies do not fully disclose the dangers of hormonal birth control pills. Then the facilitator of the event, Fr. Augustino, CFR, suggests the crowd sing "Amazing Grace."
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound ...
First plan is for March 23rd, nationwide.
More information as it becomes available.
A sraightforward and easy to understand explanation as to why the Obama/HHS contraception/sterilization/abortion mandate is unconstitutional. The op ed is not very long - 16 paragraphs - but very comprehensive.
The birth-control coverage mandate violates the First Amendment's bar against the "free exercise" of religion. But it also violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That statute, passed unanimously by the House of Representatives and by a 97-3 vote in the Senate, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. It was enacted in response to a 1990 Supreme Court opinion, Employment Division v. Smith.
That case limited the protections available under the First Amendment's guarantee of free exercise of religion to those government actions that explicitly targeted religious practices, by subjecting them to difficult-to-satisfy strict judicial scrutiny. Other governmental actions, even if burdening religious activities, were held subject to a more deferential test.
The 1993 law restored the same protections of religious freedom that had been understood to exist pre-Smith. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act states that the federal government may "substantially burden" a person's "exercise of religion" only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person "is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest" and "is the least restrictive means of furthering" that interest.
The refusal, for religious reasons, to provide birth-control coverage is clearly an exercise of religious freedom under the Constitution. The "exercise of religion" extends to performing, or refusing to perform, actions on religious grounds—and it is definitely not confined to religious institutions or acts of worship. Leading Supreme Court cases in this area, for example, involve a worker who refused to work on the Sabbath (Sherbert v. Verner, 1963) and parents who refused to send their teenage children to a public high school (Wisconsin v. Yoder, 1972).
In the high-school case, the Supreme Court found that even a $5 fine on the parents substantially burdened the free exercise of their religion. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, employers who fail to comply with the birth-control mandate will incur an annual penalty of roughly $2,000 per employee. So it is clearly a substantial burden.
Does the mandate further the governmental interest in increasing cost-free access to contraceptives by means that are least restrictive of the employer's religious freedom? Plainly, the answer is no. There are plenty of other ways to increase access to contraceptives that intrude far less on the free exercise of religion.
Health and Human Services itself touts community health centers, public clinics and hospitals as some of the available alternatives; doctors and pharmacies are others. Many of the entities, with Planned Parenthood being the most prominent, already furnish free contraceptives. The government could have the rest of these providers make contraceptive services available free and then compensate them directly. A mandate on employers who object for religious reasons is among the most restrictive means the government could have chosen to increase access.
The mandate also fails the "compelling government interest" test. Given the widespread availability of contraceptive services, and the far less restrictive other ways to increase their availability, the government can hardly claim it has a "compelling" interest in marginally increasing access to birth control by requiring objecting employers to join in this effort.
In an effort to rally its base in the upcoming November election, the Obama administration seems more interested in punishing religiously based opposition to contraception and abortion than in marginally increasing access to contraception services. ...
... the birth-control mandate violates both statutory law and the Constitution. The fact that the administration promulgated it so flippantly, without seriously engaging on these issues, underscores how little it cares about either.
Yesterday's announcement by the President that all insurance companies simply had to make contraception, et al, free to everyone has pleased some of the lap dog Catholics who support him, like EJ Dionne and Sister Carol Keehan. It is most charitable to say these people are merely stupid and not trying to actually undermine their Church.
The Wall Street Journal points to the total and utter bogusness:
... you almost have to admire the absurdity of the new plan President Obama floated yesterday: The government will now write a rule that says the best things in life are "free," including contraception. Thus a political mandate will be compounded by an uneconomic one—in other words, behold the soul of ObamaCare.
Under the original Health and Human Services regulation, all religious institutions except for houses of worship would be required to cover birth control, including hospitals, schools and charities. Under the new rule, which the White House stresses is "an accommodation" and not a compromise, nonprofit religious organizations won't have to directly cover birth control and can opt out. But the insurers they hire to cover their employees can't opt out. If that sounds like a distinction without a difference, odds are you're a rational person.
Say Notre Dame decides that its health plan won't cover birth control on moral grounds. A faculty member wants such coverage, so Notre Dame's insurer will then be required to offer the benefit as an add-on rider anyway, at no out-of-pocket cost to her, or to any other worker or in higher premiums for the larger group.
But wait. Supposedly the original rule was necessary to ensure "access" to contraceptives, which can cost up to $600 a year as Democratic Senators Jeanne Shaheen, Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray wrote in these pages this week. The true number is far less, but where does that $600 or whatever come from, if not from Notre Dame and not the professor?
Insurance companies won't be making donations. Drug makers will still charge for the pill. Doctors will still bill for reproductive treatment. The reality, as with all mandated benefits, is that these costs will be borne eventually via higher premiums. The balloon may be squeezed differently over time, and insurers may amortize the cost differently over time, but eventually prices will find an equilibrium. Notre Dame will still pay for birth control, even if it is nominally carried by a third-party corporation.
This cut-out may appease a few of the Administration's critics, especially on the Catholic left—but only if they want to be deceived again, having lobbied for the Affordable Care Act that created the problem in the first place. The faithful for whom birth control is a matter of religious conviction haven't been accommodated at all. They'll merely have to keep two sets of accounting books.
Yesterday's new adventure in damage control and bureaucratic improvisation makes the compliance problem much worse. There is simply no precedent for the government ordering private companies to offer a product for free, even if they recoup the costs indirectly. Why not do that with all health benefits and "bend the cost curve" to zero? The shape of the final rule when the details land in the Federal Register is anyone's guess, including the HHS gnomes who are throwing it together on the fly to meet a political deadline.
One major problem will be how the rule applies to large organizations that self-insure. Arrangements in which an employer pays for care directly and uses insurers to manage benefits and process claims (not to take on insurance risk) account for the majority of the private market. In these cases there isn't even a free lunch to pretend exists.
And the last point is a major one - most large organizations self-insure and use the insurer to manage and administrate benefits, so the insurer only pays on large claims (what's called a stop loss). The small claims - say under $25,000 or $50,000 - are paid by the organization themselves, from a fund they've set aside.
Hit the link for the whole editorial.
A short (six paragraphs) posting on"A Canon Lawyer's Blog".
The lawyer is Edward N. Peters, JD, JCD, Ref. Sig. Ap.
Hit the link; it's a short posting.
Canon 915, as I and others have explained many times, is not about impositions on individual conscience, it’s about public consequences for public behavior. It’s about taking people at their word and acknowledging the character of their actions. It’s about not pretending that people don’t really mean what they repeatedly say and what they repeatedly do.
Statement from Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation February 6, 2012
Health Insurance Mandate: Religious Freedom and
Conscience Rights in United States
The United States, from its very beginnings, has been an example of true human freedom and religious liberty for all. During its history, in fact, our nation has sheltered countless people who came here from countries where their basic freedoms were either in danger or being denied altogether. Sadly, Americans now face a similar threat. At this moment, which is strange and new to us, our own religious freedom and rights of conscience are in jeopardy. Sharing the very serious concerns expressed by Pope Benedict XVI and by our U.S. bishops in recent weeks, the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia will set aside nine days of prayer and fasting during the month of February, asking Our Lady to intercede for our country.
The Holy Father noted in a recent address to U.S. Bishops visiting Rome that Catholics in the United States face "grave threats to the Church's public witness" and "attempts to limit the most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion." He was responding to the American bishops' concerns about "concerted efforts...to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices" and the "tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship." Pope Benedict stressed that it is imperative that "the entire Catholic community in the United States" recognize and counter these threats.
While faced with multiple threats to religious liberty, the most immediate concern is a January 20, 2012 ruling by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), made in conjunction with the recently approved healthcare law. In identifying the "preventive services" that must be covered in most health insurance plans, this HHS mandate specifies "all FDA approved forms of contraception," including sterilization and some abortifacients. Although the ruling does allow an exemption for certain religious organizations, the exemption is so narrow that most religious institutions - including most Catholic schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, and charitable agencies - do not meet the criteria.
As a result of this ruling, religious employers will be required to pay for forms of health insurance coverage that violate both their religious beliefs and their rights of conscience. This would be the case with employers at both Catholic and many other religiously-affiliated institutions.
This decision was immediately denounced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as numerous individual bishops and other religious leaders, both Christian and non-Christian. According to the terms of the mandate, most new and renewed health plans will be required to include the aforementioned services beginning August 1, 2012. Nonprofit employers who, because of their religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage, may have an additional year, until August 1, 2013, to comply with the new law; but they must certify that they qualify for delayed implementation. In the meantime, they must provide their employees with specific information about sites where "contraceptive services" can be obtained. Thus religious employers are obliged by law to cooperate in actions which they hold in conscience to be intrinsically evil.
Cardinal-Designate Timothy M. Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has termed the HHS decision "literally unconscionable." The Washington Post, in a January 22 editorial, noted that the final HHS ruling "fails to address the fundamental problem of requiring religiously affiliated entities to spend their own money in a way that contradicts the tenets of their faith."
Numerous bishops and other religious leaders have continued to issue public protests against the HHS decision. The bishops have vowed to continue fighting the mandate, urging their people to do the same.
The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation strongly share the concern of our bishops and other religious leaders who have expressed opposition to this decision of the HHS. We are providing in this newsletter links to statements and articles giving more complete information about the implications of this ruling, one which poses an unprecedented threat to freedom of religion and conscience in our country.
United in Prayer
We beg God for the preservation of our great and beautiful country, and of the freedom we have all enjoyed and been privileged to share with others. The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia invite you to join with us in a novena of prayer and fasting, asking Mary, Patroness of the United States of America, to implore God's loving mercy on us at this critical time. The novena will begin February 11 and end February 19, 2012. The sisters will be praying the following prayer each of the nine days.
Act of Consecration of the United States to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Most Holy Trinity: Our Father in heaven, who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters; Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as your spouse; God the Son, who chose Mary as your Mother; in union with Mary, we adore your majesty and acknowledge your supreme, eternal dominion and authority.
Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country to you. Through her we wish to thank you for the great resources of this land and for the freedom, which has been its heritage. Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our president and on all the officers of our government. Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our Mother, have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners - on all who are in need.
Mary, Immaculate Virgin, our Mother, Patroness of our land, we praise you and honor you and give our country and ourselves to your sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pierced by the sword of sorrow prophesied by Simeon, save us from degeneration, disaster and war. Protect us from all harm. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, you who bore the sufferings of your Son in the depths of your heart, be our advocate. Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the will of your divine Son, we may live and die pleasing to God. Amen.
Imprimatur, Patrick Cardinal O'Boyle, Archbishop of Washington, 1959, for public consecration of the United States to the Immaculate Heart of Mary;
renewed by U.S. Bishops, November 11, 2006
Here - with extensive information -
See also this article - President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast. Catholics Won’t Get Fooled Again
UPDATE: Even the normally Democratic Party lap dog National Catholic Reporter (NCR) is outraged. NCR - UPDATED: White House refuses to expand conscience exemption
Mandates that contraceptives and abortifacients must be provided in employer health plans with no opt out for conscientious objection.
This is from the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JANUARY 20, 2012
U.S. BISHOPS VOW TO FIGHT HHS EDICT
Unconscionable to force citizens to buy contraceptives against their will
No change in limited exemption, only delay in enforcement
Matter of freedom of conscience, freedom of religion
WASHINGTON—The Catholic bishops of the United States called “literally unconscionable” a decision by the Obama Administration to continue to demand that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. Today's announcement means that this mandate and its very narrow exemption will not change at all; instead there will only be a delay in enforcement against some employers.
“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The cardinal-designate continued, “To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty."
The HHS rule requires that sterilization and contraception – including controversial abortifacients – be included among “preventive services” coverage in almost every healthcare plan available to Americans. “The government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a disease to be prevented at all costs,” added Cardinal-designate Dolan.
At issue, the U.S. bishops and other religious leaders insist, is the survival of a cornerstone constitutionally protected freedom that ensures respect for the conscience of Catholics and all other Americans.
“This is nothing less than a direct attack on religion and First Amendment rights,” said Franciscan Sister Jane Marie Klein, chairperson of the board at Franciscan Alliance, Inc., a system of 13 Catholic hospitals. “I have hundreds of employees who will be upset and confused by this edict. I cannot understand it at all.”
Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, voiced disappointment with the decision. Catholic hospitals serve one out of six people who seek hospital care annually.
“This was a missed opportunity to be clear on appropriate conscience protection,” Sister Keehan said.
Cardinal-designate Dolan urged that the HHS mandate be overturned.
“The Obama administration has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand,” he said. “The Catholic bishops are committed to working with our fellow Americans to reform the law and change this unjust regulation. We will continue to study all the implications of this troubling decision.”
First Amendment, heath care, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, Freedom of Conscience, U.S. bishops, United States Conference of Catholic bishops, President Obama, Sister Carol Keehan
# # # # #
The state of California is seeking to invalidate a federal law which seeks to protect institutions and caregivers who refuse to participate in abortions. This law is of major importance to. amongst others, the Catholic healthcare system in California.
President Bush signed a federal spending bill with a provision sponsored by pro-life Reps. Henry Hyde and Dave Weldon saying the federal government can't discriminate against doctors, hospitals or health insurance companies that do not want to perform or pay for abortions.
Any federal, state or local agency that receives federal money would lose those funds if they engage in such discrimination.
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed a lawsuit against the law in January 2005 and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the two pro-life groups can join in defending the law.
The court ruled the Alliance for Catholic Health Care and the Medical Groups, which represents health organizations opposing abortion, can help the federal government defend the provision in the case.
According to a Reuters report, it said the groups can participate because medical providers will be forced to choose between their moral beliefs and losing their jobs or medical licenses.
"Congress passed the Weldon Amendment precisely to keep doctors who have moral qualms about performing abortions from being put to the hard choice of acting in conformity with their beliefs, or risking imprisonment or loss of professional livelihood," Judge Alex Kozinski wrote for a three-judge panel of the appellate court.
Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar condemned the decision in an interview with Reuters.
"Regardless of who is to intervene in this case, the Weldon Amendment remains an unconstitutional infringement of California's sovereignty as well as a threat to the reproductive health care rights of the state's women," she claimed.
Weldon previously told the Sacramento Bee newspaper that his amendment "in no way infringes" on a woman's right to an abortion. Instead, Weldon said in a statement, it only says "you can't force the unwilling" to perform them.
"Mr. Lockyer seems anxious to preserve California's right to coerce such unwilling providers into performing abortions," Weldon said.
The California-based Alliance for Catholic Health Care represents nine Catholic health care systems that operate 59 Catholic and community-based affiliated hospitals. Together, Catholic health care providers comprise over 15 percent of California's hospitals.